“The Charge of the Light Brigade” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

1. Why do you suppose Tennyson has repeated canon at the beginning six lines (stanzas three and five)?
By beginning the line with “canons,” Tennyson creates a sense of unrelenting assault. Every line greets the reader’s eyes with canons just as the soldiers were greeted on the fields.

2. Find and record an example of an allusion within the first stanza.
The allusion in the first stanza is found on line three, and repeated on line seven, where the speaker uses the phrase “valley of Death.” This is an allusion to Psalm 23 in the Bible, where the poet says, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of Death, thou art with me.” It is not a reference to hell, but rather a reference to the time between death and one’s ascent to heaven or descent to hell.

3. What is the speaker’s outlook on war?
The poem seems to glorify war and the courage that seems to accompany it.

4. In the poem’s last stanza, the speaker asks, “When can their glory fade?” By writing the poem, Tennyson seems to be trying to ensure that it never does. What is the term for a question asked that is not mean to be answered?
The question is a rhetorical one.


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